Find the hidden treasure buried in your family

by tim van de vall

Here’s how to find the hidden treasure buried in your family:

1. Walk into your bathroom.

2. Look in the mirror.

Your family’s hidden treasure is you. Well, actually your presence. There’s a subtle difference between you and your presence.

Your presence is God’s access to your family

You and me ourselves have proven pretty feeble change agents in our families, wouldn’t you say? What good have you caused by the power of your will and personality and wisdom alone? For me, not much.

Ahhh, but God’s presence through us goes places we can’t touch, places we don’t even know exist. Sure he can do that all by himself without you. But he created families as a place for us to influence each other while cooperating with him.

You . . . your family . . . you IN your family . . .

No accident.

I know what you’re thinking: “Aren’t there some other big strong grownups in this family that should model and cooperate with God too?” Oh yes. But right now it starts with you. And you’re enough to start with.

During our daughters’ Compassion child sponsorship trip last week, it was clear everyone assumed the difference one child could make in a family:

While changed circumstances sometimes change people, changed people always change circumstances.

One changed child eventually changes a family. A changed family will influence change in its church. Enough changed churches will transform a community. Changed communities change regions. Changed regions will in time change entire nations

– Wes Stafford

Do you believe that?

Because if big changes in a family can start with one little kid, what kind of changes can start with one big strong grownup actively cooperating with God?

Be the grownup cooperating with God

Don’t default to the common, “Well I tried and they just won’t change” or “Things can’t change because _____ (fill in the blank with your favorite reason). You’re better than that. God is bigger than that. You just haven’t seen how, yet.

Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge – Colossians 2.3

Christ in you, the hope of glory – Colossians 1.27

And if he is in you, where are those treasures? In you. And where are you? In your family.

That person in your bathroom mirror is God’s access to your family to influence them towards the things he has in mind.

Fortunately, since the things are in his mind, then the burden is on him to make it happen. You get the privilege of cooperating with God and watching what he does.

Put your family, your role, and the results, in God’s hands and lighten up

Realize the great power that comes from a peaceful attitude of trust. Find moments to give genuine attention knowing it’s an act of love and an act of curiosity about what God is up to in each family member.

These are the first attitudes and acts of a person cooperating with God, no matter what family you’re in. This is the beginning of modeling for your family. And these are things that can become contagious.

Then after a bit of peace and trust, attention and curiosity, you begin to notice more specific things God is up to in your family and you get more ideas for little ways to cooperate.

When have you seen an attitude  become contagious?

About the Author


Gary Morland helps you feel better about your most challenging family relationships, and helps you actually improve those relationships - all by adopting simple attitudes, perspectives, expectations, and actions (the same ones that changed him and his family).


  1. Adrienne Jelderks

    Thanks Gary. I love this! It reminds me that even when I think I mess up, God is really the one there that is doing the work. It’s not all up to (prideful) me. As an aside, I did sponsor a compassion child after Emily’s last trip :)

  2. karla59

    “realize the great power that comes from a peaceful attitude of trust ”
    What a powerful message that is and how hard it is to let go of the rudder and let God take control of the situation. I am so guilty of asking God for help and not relinquishing my control . I believe being able to turn everything over to God with this peaceful attitude of trust is the truest expression of faith. Thank you for your powerful message!

  3. Veronica

    Hi Gary. Just like Karla, I also found great solace in your passage “realize the great power that comes from a peaceful attitude of trust.” Trust has always been difficult for me, but letting go and letting God is the only peaceful way to live. On a daily basis, I am discovering that God wants to bless me, but trust and faith go hand in hand and obedience to His call is necessary.
    Your blog has been such a blessing to my life…it is a welcome challenge to live my life well and faithfully towards Christ. Thanks.

    I also sponsored a child in Uganda thanks to Emily’s touching posts about her trip to this wonderful country. Her name is Gift and I can’t wait to get to know this wonderful little girl. God bless.

    • A kid named Gift – wow. And yes, trust is big – and it’s contagious; hang around a trusting person (like my wife) and you’ll trust more too. Plus others can catch if from you. Thanks!

  4. Pam Cason

    I am here to influence my people toward the things God has in mind. Wow. That’s powerful. I want eyes open to see and cooperate with what HE is doing. Thanks, Gary!

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